Mona At Sea

About the Book:

Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN: 9781951631017

In this sharp, witty debut, Elizabeth Gonzalez James introduces us to Mona Mireles — observant to a fault, unflinching in her opinions, and uncompromisingly confident in her professional abilities. Mona is a Millennial perfectionist who fails upwards in the midst of the 2008 economic crisis.

Despite her potential, and her top- of-her-class college degree, Mona finds herself unemployed, living with her parents, and adrift in life and love. Mona’s the sort who says exactly the right thing at absolutely the wrong moments, seeing the world through a cynic’s eyes. In the financial and social malaise of the early 2000s, Mona walks a knife’s edge as she faces down unemployment, underemployment, the complexities of adult relationships, and the downward spiral of her parents’ shattering marriage. The more Mona craves perfection and order, the more she is forced to see that it is never attainable. Mona’s journey asks the question: When we find what gives our life meaning, will we be ready for it?

About the Author:

Before becoming a writer, Elizabeth Gonzalez James was a waitress, a pollster, an Avon lady, and an opera singer. Her short story, “Cosmic Blues,” was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers, and her stories and essays have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. She’s attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Writers Workshop, and Lit Camp. She lives with her family in Oakland, California. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @unefemmejames

A Rumpus Book Club Pick!
Mona at Sea is a delightful debut, one that marks Elizabeth Gonzalez James as a writer to watch.”
—Adam Johnson, National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master’s Son
Mona at Sea reads like an intimate late night conversation with the friend you never knew you needed. Written with humor and insight and vulnerability, it’s a tribute to the struggle to stay upright as the world around you comes falling down.”
—Mat Johnson, author of Pym and Hunting in Harlem
“This Millennial coming of age story is a sharp, witty take on the Great Recession. Mona Mireles is the perfect narrator—overly critical, self-deprecating, bitingly honest, and very, very funny. Her keen observations about life, work, and love during the less than halcyon days of the early 2000s are almost compensation for having lived through them. I loved this book!”
—Janis Cooke Newman, author of A Master Plan for Rescue and Mary; Mrs. A. Lincoln
“Mona Mireles is known to all as “sad millennial” but Mona and the colorful cast of characters surrounding her kept me grinning throughout the tale. Touching on themes of ambition, addiction, and adulthood, Mona at Sea is a charming debut, reminding us that the best way to face an uncertain future is with grit and wit.”
—Julie Zuckerman, author of The Book of Jeremiah
“A fantastic read and a remarkable first novel from a writer who deserves to take her place alongside David Sedaris and Otessa Moshfegh.”
—Galadrielle Allman, author of Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman